President Donald Trump.
Drew Angerer — Getty Images
By Madeline Farber
May 15, 2017

President Trump wants paid family leave and better access to women’s health care, he said in a statement issued on Sunday.

In light of Women’s Health Week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer released an official statement on behalf of the president. In it, Trump writes that “we recognize the importance of providing women with the best, evidence-based health information and care,” and calls for better access to “quality prenatal, maternal, and newborn care.”

Additionally, Trump also writes that he is “committed to working with Congress” to ensure mothers and fathers in the United States have access to paid-family leave—an issue that his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, has championed. The U.S. is the only country that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave in the OECD, a group of highly developed economies.

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“Ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality health care is critical to improving women’s health and ensuring that it fits their priorities at any stage of life,” he writes. “Under the current health-care system, however, the lack of choice in health insurance and in health-care providers, along with skyrocketing premium and out-of-pocket costs, are failing our citizens, our families, and, in particular, our women.”

President Trump also says that women are “living longer, healthier lives than their mothers,” adding that the number of women who die from heart disease and cancer, (which are the two “top killers” of women in America, he notes), has been on the decline in recent years.

“Thanks to new breast cancer treatments, our health care professionals have saved lives and improved the quality of life for millions of women. We must continue to foster an environment that rewards these needed advances in research,” he writes.

In addition to working with Congress on behalf of paid family leave policy, Trump concludes that he will also work with Congress to “invest in the comprehensive care that women receive at community health centers.”

“Through these reforms, and my 2018 Presidential Budget, we will enable access to the critical health-care services women need,” the president said.

Though this is one of Trump’s more vocal statements on women’s health care, this isn’t the first time he’s pushed for paid family leave. In February, Trump told a joint session of Congress that he wanted bipartisan support on both paid family leave and affordable childcare.

“My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave,” Trump said at the time.

But Trump’s comments, which were released on Mother’s Day, do not jibe with American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican-drafted bill that narrowly passed the House of Representatives on May 4th. The legislation seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, and would likely have an significant impact on women’s health care. In its current form, the AHCA slashes funding for Medicaid, which covers about 40% of pregnancies, according to Politico. It also eliminates federal funds for Planned Parenthood for one year, affecting about 390,000 low-income women who reply on public-assistance for health care, and would allow states to give insurance companies the power to penalize consumers with so-called preexisting conditions, which have previously included sexual assault, domestic violence, postpartum depression, pregnancy, and Caesarean sections.

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